Sunday, March 1, 2015

"Treason" Once Removed         
    Back in simpler times, treason meant betraying one’s own country. Things are much more complicated today when treason can also mean less than total obedience to the leader and lobby of a distant foreign country.
    We Americans have reached that state with the arrival in Washington of Israel’s Prime Minister who has the super chutzpah to make a speech before our  Congress attacking our foreign policy. 
    Supporters of the state of Israel (or “51” as some call it) are warning that they will “punish” members of Congress who don’t show up to applaud Netanyahu. I assume that absentees will need a note from their doctor or another suitable excuse if they don’t want to end up on the Israeli lobby’s hit list of traitors to Israel.    
    “Punishment” here in the States for suspected lèse–majesté against anything Israeli hasn’t yet reached the level of water boarding or droning. Mostly it consists of accusations of “anti-Semitism” and ruination of the reputations and careers of the accused.
    That, along with tons of money from pro-Israel fat cats like Sheldon Adelson, has brought (or is it bought?) Israel to its uniquely powerful status among the satrapies of the American empire.  Only Saudi Arabia, which maintains a discreet alliance with Israel, has as much clout with the American polity.
   The unabashed hypocrisy in the Republicans’ sponsorship of Netanyahu is that while they pretend to super-patriotism and are forever slagging Obama and the Dems for not being tough enough on the other 95 percent of the world, they are tripping over themselves in kow-towing to the leader of a country where distaste for America and Christians is open and commonplace. 

   I get the feeling that Netanyahu and his GOP subjects have gone too far this time.  Even Americans, not the most worldly of imperialists, can eventually figure out that there’s something wrong with taking rather giving orders to one of their vassals.  When they finally do, it will be a blow to their pride.  They may even do something about it, like treating Israel not as a princeling to be indulged but as a nation with a population the size of Tajikistan or Honduras that ought to be treated accordingly.